Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye (r) and Vice President Jonathan Nez (l) stand outside the former Ole Red Barn Liquor. near Sanders, Arizona.
Published September 6, 2015
NAHATA DZIIL, ARIZONA– It was a historic day for Nahata Dziil as Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez signed off on the purchase of Ole Red Barn Liquor which signified the end of liquor sales to the local community.
The ceremony took place at the Nahata Dzill Commission Governance center on Thursday, August 3, 2015.
For years the impacts of liquor sales have devastated the Nahata Dziil community. In turn, the community organized alliances with tribal, county and state agencies to effectively end alcohol sales from Ole Red Barn.
President Begaye apologized to community members who had experienced domestic violence as a result of liquor sales from Ole Red Barn.
“That will not happen again. Why? Because no more Red Barn Liquor,” he said.
Nahata Dziil Commission President, Darryl Ahasteen said the process of having the property’s liquor license denied took the coordination of entities like Renewal of Hope, the Office of the President and Vice President, the Navajo Nation Council, Apache County Board of Supervisors and the Arizona State Liquor Board.
Navajo President Russell Begaye signs the purchase agreements.
“The community had to come together to deal with shutting down this liquor establishment,” he said.
Commission President Ahasteen said he would like to see the property restored to a business that reflects positively on the community.
District 3 Supervisor for Apache County, Barry Weller said the Navajo Nation should be proud of Nahata Dzill for coming together to stand against the liquor establishment.
“I’m here to inform you that what you did with your effort, I don’t think has been done before. You all deserve credit,” he said.
For Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez, the signing ceremony was a momentous occasion. He urged the community to support its members who have regained their sobriety.
“It’s recovery,” he said. “Let’s stand by them and help them. That’s how we are as a community.”
Vice President Nez also called for consistency with the decision to shut down Ole Red Barn.
“Stay consistent. The community has talked about getting a casino. If so, then there should be no alcohol in the casino.”
Everyone noted the significance of Nahata Dziil rallying together to defeat Ole Red barn which has torn families apart and destroyed individual lives. The signing ceremony was testament to the fact that when people unite, they are an unstoppable force.
“This liquor establishment has caused a great deal of headache, sorrow and havoc for this community,” President Begaye said. “The community is now looking forward to the day when this land will be used for something that will bring joy and happiness to the people rather than sorrow. With that, I am thankful that the people have worked together to make this happen.”